I’ve already spoken about it being Conference Season, and my next event is upon me. Well, in two days time anyway when I fly up to Brissie to attend the fabulous CYA conference on the 4th.
For those unaware CYA stands for ‘See You Later’ (as in Alligator) or more precisely, Children and Young Adult and so it’s not too big a mental jump to get that this is a conference for those targeting, or writing for, kids and teens. It’s run by the dynamic duo of Tina Marie Clark and Ally Howard, who both smother you in love and welcome when you arrive.
Considering that most of my 60 odd books have been for kids and teens it’s an easy jump to see why I’m going – even if it kills me. And it might… You see, it’s going to be a bone-wearying jag. It just happens that’s a big weekend for us – The Bobster’s birthday AND Father’s Day – AND the significant birthday of a close friend AND CYA. And as such I have four major events to attend, as well as attending a conference in another state. Just the thought of it is making my eyelids droop!
So, that means shooting up for the day only. To achieve this, I’ll be up at the ungodly hour of 3am on the 4th in order to make myself bootiful (it takes that long!) so I can leave by 4.15ish in order to reach the airport by 5.15ish which puts me there exactly an hour before my precisely 6.15 flight. I’ll arrive in Brisbane at about 7.30 and then snag a cab out to the university for an 8.30 start. I’ll then spend the next 9+ hours loading up on all the latest info, greeting old friends, making new friends, and filling the well again before my (hopefully) booked cab crawls through all the traffic wending its way into the city for Brisbane’s famed Riverfire (fireworks on the river), as I attempt to get back to airport to make my 7.50 flight back home.
All being well, I should be in bed by about 11.30pm. Midnight tops. And I’ll be wiped out. Totally.
So, why do it? Is it worth it? You know, my answer is a rapidfire ‘yes’. This year is only my second CYA conference. I only really learned about it last year. And this time I’ll be giving back – because last year was a very positive experience for me.
Let me explain. The CYA conference is unique in that it offers something I don’t think I’ve seen offered at any other conference. And trust me, I’ve been a round a long time. They have editor/agent pitches and yes, I know, I know – you’re saying ‘so what?’ What conference worth its salt doesn’t?
Yes – but here’s the thing. Other conferences offer ‘blind’ pitches but at this one you get to submit sample pages prior to the conference – and that means when you walk into that editor or agent meeting – they’ve already read your work. And of course, that means that you get an immediate informed response. The appointments are 15 minutes, and if it’s a ‘no’, then you get to hear exactly why it’s a ‘no’. And that experience is priceless! However if it IS a request you know it’s not random; that you’re in with a good chance.
That’s what happened to me last year. With barely three weeks notice I reseached the editors and agents on offer, shot off a couple of partials and slotted myself into both an editor and agent appoitment. The result? The editor suggested plot changes that focused more on an Australian flavour, and told me that as soon as that was done to send the full to her. And the agent also requested the full of the other novel, and five months later, after that novel was complete, we signed.
And thus I entered into my third agent relationship, this time with the amazing Jacinta di Mase, and not only am I excited by her faith and enthusiasm, I’m really looking forward to the future as we work together.
Naturally this time I don’t have any agent or editor appointments booked, I’m along the hear the speakers and help out where I can, but I’m still pretty jazzed. And I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a friend who’s been trying so hard to get past first base with Eds and agents…
But I do have to say, if YA or kids stuff is your target, then I’d be keeping my eye out for the next CYA conference. the appointments aren’t the only draw. The speakers are good and there are comps for both pubbed and unpubbed. And the scones with jam and cream were pretty good last year as well 🙂
That said – I have to add a warning: I could be way off field here – this is my own opinion only, but as this conference grows in size and popularity, I suspect the opportunity to submit prior to the conference may be phased out simply due to sheer logistics. Remember – this is my opinion only, but if I were you, I wouldn’t be taking any chances.
Now that the blogs are up and running, next year I’ll post a reminder earlier – especially for anyone who is now heading for nearest gas oven as the frustration of missing this fabulous opportunity shrouds them in depression. But before you light the match, just think about how honed your work will be for next year! How polished! How it will knock the socks off the editor or agent you target! Think of the lucrative contract you’ll sign because your work is so much stronger for having had time to tighten and polish!
And next week I’ll let you know what I learned! LOL!
Ciao for now,
K xxx PS – as I’m short on time this week, and this affects both personnas, I’ll be cross posting this blog on the Kaz site this week. Okay? Don’t want you to think you’re seeing double…